June 30 - July 6, 2009

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We were blessed with an awesome week in Montana with our Casazza family.  We had a really great time and (as you'll see) saw lots of beautiful scenery. 
We got in late the first night.  Here's Eric being 
greeted by Aubrey that next morning. 
Eric - right in the middle of things
 Do you think she likes this? Our first activity in Montana was a hike in which we had a late start, so
we had to really book it.  Casazza outings are always like this!
Here we are getting started on the trail.  It just got 
steeper from here!
Here's a little snow on the trail - in July.
Ah, but what beauty waited for us at the end of the trail.  Nice, huh? A giant, twisted, old tree near the lake.
Step 1: Hot Dogs, then the fishing can commence. Apparently Dan likes
his medium-black.


Eric, feeling full of himself.




Another view of the beautiful
Lake Marion.

 The fish weren't biting so after about 10 minutes, they decided to try a nap instead.  


Dillon found a nice spot for some fishing.


 Eric's nap didn't take so here he is absorbing the scenery Casazzas in love
   I'm not known for grace & balance, but I managed to stay dry.
 Next we went to a job site where the Casazza Concrete crew were 
 pouring a foundation.  
Jeb holds the chute, Dillon & Dan are toward the right.

The sign on the
pumping truck.


This is Jeb & Amy's house in Columbia Falls.
I really like the landscaping.


We've got a picture of Aubrey sleeping with nearly every relative!  
Here she is with Lucas.
 Eric finds the one Casazza with less hair than he has - Lane
 the newest and 14th grandbaby.

Now we're up in Eureka at the 
ranch - having an outing with Dallas.
The new cabin Dad & Rose had built this spring - it is as cute as it can be.  Very well-built too.  It was a family affair getting it finished before we arrived, everyone pitched in. 


A sign from another of 
Jeb & Dan's businesses - 
Glacier Homes

Our future neighbors Trevor & Amber
have thousands of birds in their ponds.
Here's a particularly pretty one.

 Our first view of Costich Lake from our land.  Always beautiful!  

 Some flowers down by the lake.

 Looking a the top of the lake from our future build site.  An Osprey hunting in the upper-right corner.  

Here's how you know you're in
Eureka - you see people riding 
their horse to town. 
 Here Tipper decides to get attention by sticking her head under the arm
 rest of my chair.
Pure happiness!


Mark had a skunk trap set up at the ranch
using an egg for bait.  Here Larry sets up a
joke by leaving the empty shells, plus a note
that read, "Thanks for the egg,  Mr. Skunk"
 Here Mark & Eric haul Eric's canoe out to the ranch.  You would think it unwise to 
 haul something that sticks out further than the length of the vehicle, but they made it.
 Larry was sick and Eric is famous for germ-o-phobia
 so Larry made sure to keep his distance from Eric, not!
Proud Momma Tracie with 3 month old Lane.  
He's a super-active little guy & very quiet.  
Larry & Mary Beth let me go with them to look at their land. On the
way we saw where this cow had won the "King of the Mountain" game.

The ranch is in the center of the picture, the fields leading up to it are all Casazza fields that are just having the hay 
taken off of them.



These girls let me join them right after
this for some joy-riding.
 Larry, Mary Beth, and Mary Beth's dad Ray taking down the pop-up camper. Lovely girls in a lovely spot.

 More lovely girls - this time with flowers.


And the land isn't too shabby either!  This is the view from Larry & Mary Beth's property.

 The proud couple standing on their gorgeous spot.  Here Rebecca gives her grandma Delia a ride - hang on!
Two of Jeb's three beautiful girls: Madison & Amy
And here's sweet little Coulter, always willing to let me 
take a picture.

Sunset at the ranch house.


A bad picture of Eric's thumbs.
They were shredded after a night
of catching bass until 11pm.
Here we are on a 4-wheeler ride to see Dan & Tracie's property, then on up to Jeb & Amy's     How many Casazzas can you get on a 4-wheeler?!
Coulter sliced open a finger on a blade of grass.
Mom fixed him up and he went off to make up a
story about how a snake bit him on the finger. 
Dan - he never gets tired of being up here

 Jeb & Maddie

Jeb, Eric, Dan, and Lake Costich - as seen from Dan's build site


Me & E with our a bit of land in the picture toward the right side.



This was a muskrat in Dan's pond but I didn't get
a good shot of him. 
Aubrey's out.  We put a hat over her to keep the sun off & she had a good nap.  
 Now we're on Jeb & Amy's property.  They have a terrible problem of having
 too many choices of where to put their build site.  We looked at 3 possibilities
 and they all looked great.
 Here Jeb grabs Aubrey's hands because she had 
 been beating him severely about the head & ears.  
Aubrey dropped her shoe so Uncle Eric helps her retrieve it. This bull hurt his leg but he's so huge it won't heal.


This looks like they're about to race.

Gentlemen, start your engines.


Now we see the serious fishermen - 
ready to haul them in.
 Looks like there's some consternation over the grilling progress.  They were hungry! This is how Larry & Dan move furniture.


Here's Rose in front of her
beautiful new cabin.

Amy had the great idea for the two of us to take Eric's canoe out on the lake.
It was a very nice and peaceful time.
   The lake is very clear and has this strange seaweed in part of it.


 Friday night we went to Amish country to eat dinner.  Here we are in the post-meal afterglow.


A bluebird pair living outside the restaurant.  


Would you have guessed they are sisters?  Raylene & Mary Beth 
When did little Rebecca turn into such a beauty?  And of course, Eric
looks great too!

Beautiful sunset


Another shot of the sunset in Big Sky Country.


Here Dan & Eric prepare to change
the irrigation pipe.  Like the boots?


Aubrey, looking cute in her bonnet.
You'd never guess she was wearing
it so that Daddy wouldn't have to 
brush her hair!
 Looking out over the ranch. The boys out on our land, moving water hither & yon.


You can see Eric & Dan in the lower
right of this picture, just to put the 
mountains into perspective.
 Feeling blessed on our beautiful property.                        Casazza Gothic

 You can tell how good the stories are by how much the arms fling around.



We spent some nice times with 
Amber, Trevor, and the gang out
on their porch.  Here Amy was 
there too and we had a nice visit.

We look forward to being their


Meanwhile, back at the ranch...  Grandma Rose had taken the kids to the $1 store where much face paint had been purchased.


   Beautiful Cami knew better than to let them paint on her!
Jeb, eating again!?  Aubrey, sleeping again?!  She's got a death-grip on that chain though.
There have been some unwelcome visitors using our land
and leaving trash behind, so we put up some Keep Out signs.
Eric got hot so he decided to get in the inlet of the lake to cool off.  He got 
cool alright - check out his face!
 Rose got new bedding in the Blue Room at the Ponderosa while we were there.
 I thought it looked lovely.
Here's Rose in the dining room of the new cabin.  Isn't it pretty?
 The little boys, trying to start a fire.  Always a constructive pass time for young boys.                           Who us?  We aren't doing anything!
 Another beautiful sunset.  They happen late up there - usually after 10pm.  Tracie, Lane, and Dad - out for a spin.
 I was trying to get the moon looking so pretty but it didn't capture well. More of the sunset.


Our "Keep Out" project completed. 
There is a dead bush on our land that the birds just love. Eric is walking toward me in the lower left of this amazing picture.
 Here he is, glad to be safely back at the car. Another shot of the ranch from the road below.

 Unfortunately, I was sick on Sunday (as were a few others) so I missed out on any activities that happened on that day.

 Monday we went with Dan & Rose to see a lawyer friend and got a tour
 of his gardens, including a coy pond complete with lily pads.
A local chef won a contest with the "Bubba Burger" - a hamburger with Cajun sausage and shrimp on it.  Eric tried one and found the taste wonderful, but it had mixed reviews after it settled into his stomach.  
 Here we are at Pigeon Bridge - a small parcel of land owned by Dan & Rose. A view of the bridge and the river beneath it.


 The bridge isn't used anymore so you have to watch your step in places. Sunset seen from the bridge.
 Deep discussions.
 Rose dreams about what they might do with this land, while Dan 
 seems a bit overwhelmed. 
This is an old homestead in a meadow seen from part of the land around 
the Ponderosa house. The river bends just beyond the meadow.  It was 
really neat to imagine what life was like for the family who built it.


Another lovely sunset 



Now we're on another part of the land just below the house.  This is river now but as the water rises it will become part of Lake Koocanusa.


 Eric & I went out to our land late that evening and got an amazing treat as the nearly-full moon rose as we watched.

Our last day in Montana saw us back at Jeb & Amy's in Columbia Falls. Coulter & Madison with Sonesta, Amy's youngest sister.
 Mark came over to help get his boat ready for our float trip, then they
 decided not to use it. 
Here we are a few hours later with our borrowed boat, where we find out there 
are no stoppers for the air vents.  They rigged golf tees to do the job.
 Lucas, Dan, Eric, and Jeb - getting their fishing gear "just so"


Here we are about to start our trip.  A storm was brewing overhead, a light rain 
was falling, and as we put the boat into the water, bubbles and a hissing sound
rose around us.  The guys decided it would be foolish to start on a float trip like
that... without taking the hand pump.  So we got the pump and away we went.
 Starting out the water was pretty calm, but we found a few rapids to amuse us. Our captain Dan did a great job.
 Here he demonstrates his skill at airing up the boat while we're floating downstream. Here's Jeb on his little one-man pontoon boat. 
 Here's Kristi in her kayak, ready for action. She sports the latest in spray skirt fashion-wear.
The scenery was beautiful everywhere you looked. Here's a stream running into the river making a small waterfall.
 Lucas got stuck in the current here and had to work hard to get out of there. Here they are in deep discussion about which fly to use.


I told you it was pretty.
You can see Eric fishing in the lower left of this picture.  And since there was a rock here, he had to climb on it to fish.
These were the only rapids I was brave enough to photograph, for all the others I 
was paddling!
Nice shot of Dan doing some fishing
 Lucas was a fishing madman.  He even fished down the rapids.  Blurry shot of a deer we saw along the way.

I love taking flower pictures.
I especially liked this one.
 Three brothers in a row - all of which were making this trip last longer than it should
 have.  Kristi and I were freezing so we finally got serious about finishing the float.
On dry ground again - thank goodness!
Here were some cute dogs we saw as soon as we got out.
   We also got to meet a little black lab puppy that was adorable.
 Beautiful scenery taken while I tried to thaw out my frozen feet.
Poor Kristi had been close to hypothermia since 
she was down in the water in that kayak.

Despite the fact that we got a late start, had a leaky boat, and stayed out so long 
that we were thanking God when we finally reached dry land, I'd say it was a good 
trip overall.  Especially by Casazza standards!



One last look at Montana before heading on the long flight home the next day.  Great trip!


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